Pomalidomide in combination with dexamethasone results in synergistic anti-tumour responses in pre-clinical models of lenalidomide-resistant multiple myeloma

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Pomalidomide is an IMiD® immunomodulatory agent, which has shown clinically significant benefits in relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma (rrMM) patients when combined with dexamethasone, regardless of refractory status to lenalidomide or bortezomib. (Schey et al, 2004; San Miguel et al, 2013; Richardson et al, 2014; Scott, 2014) In this work, we present preclinical data showing that the combination of pomalidomide with dexamethasone (PomDex) demonstrates potent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activity in both lenalidomide-sensitive and lenalidomide-resistant MM cell lines. PomDex also synergistically inhibited tumour growth compared with single-agent treatment in xenografts of lenalidomide-resistant H929 R10-1 cells. Typical hallmarks of IMiD compound activity, including IKZF3 (Aiolos) degradation, and the downregulation of interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 4 and MYC, seen in lenalidomide-sensitive H929 MM cell lines, were also observed in PomDex-treated lenalidomide-resistant H929 MM cells. Remarkably, this resulted in strong, synergistic effects on the induction of apoptosis in both lenalidomide-sensitive and resistant MM cells. Furthermore, gene expression profiling revealed a unique differential gene expression pattern in PomDex-treated samples, highlighted by the modulation of pro-apoptotic pathways in lenalidomide-resistant cells. These results provide key insights into molecular mechanisms of PomDex in the lenalidomide-resistant setting.

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